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somethingfunny

魅力汉语 ('The Charm of Chinese') MOOC

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Luxi
3 minutes ago, 艾墨本 said:

Because she does speak so clearly, I'm considering shadowing her (that 75% speed would be perfect) but mostly just doing extensive listening along with taking notes on the content. 

 

That's what I'm doing, playing the video repeatedly and generally enjoying the talks without worrying too much about the places I don't understand. I have been trying to screen-print some of the slides and checking the vocabulary, some of the next Chapters get quite technical.

 

BTW, the enthusiasm is quite contagious after watching the video 3-4 times.

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somethingfunny

I just watched the first video (slow work day).

 

I think I'm just going to be doing extensive listening and hitting some of the more relevant/frequent vocab.  Hopefully, the first week should give a good indication of the important vocab to learn for the rest of the course, although I'm sure each week will have it's own specialist requirements.

 

I didn't find her kool-aid induced proselytizing too nauseating.  In fact, I thought her spiel about how everyone likes their own language the most was quite balanced.  I was expecting her to finish it with "this being the case, it's still obvious Chinese is one of the best" but she didn't!

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Luxi

I liked the way the teacher presents the Chinese language,probably because her arguments include some the reasons why I started studying Chinese and have kept my interest for so long. Of course now I am even more convinced that Chinese is quite unique.

 

She quotes lines from several poems of different vintages. Here's the one that more or less sets the tone of this lecture.

 

<<中国话>>
       作者:佚名 (anonymous)

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_8cb4db350100xe13.html

 

 

 

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stapler

Just finished watching the first lesson. Pretty good. The first bit about the charm of Chinese was a bit of drag, but I really liked the part on dialects. I liked the hearing all the dialects reading the passage and was surprised that the students were even able to do it. Often when I ask people to read something in their dialect they can't because they can't make a connection between their language and the characters. Perhaps my favourite part was finding out that the Beijing dialect is actually a dialect with tonal differences from Mandarin. I didn't know it had tonal differences. I thought it was just a matter of vocabulary and accent!

 

I don't plan to study this series. Just gunna watch it. 

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Publius
1 hour ago, stapler said:

Perhaps my favourite part was finding out that the Beijing dialect is actually a dialect with tonal differences from Mandarin.

I didn't notice tonal differences. I think the teacher's point is about 尖团音, i.e. xia vs sia. People from northern suburbs of Beijing speak quite differently from those in the old city proper. Actually the student's accent is not typical Yanqing. Yanqing accent is very similar to Jin Chinese Zhangjiakou-Huhhot subdivision. It's classified as Beijing Mandarin only because of administrative boundaries.

I think the most prominent feature of Beijing dialect besides erhua is w->v except before o/u, for example, ven2hua4 instead of wen2hua4. (I didn't realize I was doing that until I read a Wikipedia article...)

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abcdefg

I took a look at last year's material because it sounded real interesting. Afraid it's over my head, beyond my level.

 

Reminds me of a tea buying trip into the hills of deep south Yunnan early last year. The guy driving the the car kept quoting snatches of classical poetry that were relevant to things we were seeing as we made our way into the mountains and through small villages. He did it day after day, but not all the time, not enough to be annoying.

 

At some point I made an admiring comment. One of the girls in the group said "嗯,对了,他肚子里有很多墨水。“ Everyone laughed. Sounds like that observation would apply to the teacher of this course. She comes across as both erudite and eloquent.

 

course.JPG.c637646662f093ace7de24c978b34b34.JPG

 

 

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Luxi

I found lectures 5 and 6 rather uninteresting, but 2 and 3 were great for me. Lecture 2 forced me to make the effort to understand the jokes。 The 太阳 , 出日 joke needed too much background knowledge, I had to ask for help. Turned out to be quite funny.

 

It was really interesting to be able to listen to some of the dialects reading from a same text. I don't know whether I understood right, but the teacher seems to imply that the dialects diverged from one common root language. She doesn't go into any detail, but I am not sure this is entirely correct in all cases. I spotted a mooc on 方言 in this same list of courses, I think I'll want to check it up.

 

I was also intrigued to come across the concept of 声母 (shen1gmu3) and 韵母 (yun2mu3), by no means the same as 'consonants' and 'vowels' in this context, and something I was never taught in any of the Chinese language courses I did. Not sure how to apply this knowledge, but it makes me wonder at how the thinking and analysing processes in non-alphabetic languages differ from those in languages with an alphabet...All rather nebulous, but intriguing.

 

If anyone is wondering about the '老子明天不上班' part, the explanation is  here   Or here for those without You Tube. Again, not sure I understood right, but the teacher seemed more affected by the rapper singing in thick Chengdu dialect than by the lyrics (which could be misconstrued as nihilistic in certain ideologies)
 

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艾墨本

I finished 1-4 and am quite pleased with it. The first and second were a bit of a drag but once she got into talking about 方言 I enjoyed it a lot. The map about how the 方言 regions are divided was quite interesting. It has started to clear up my age old question of how Chinese can justify calling 方言 as 方言 when they seem more like different languages to me. I would have liked her to define the difference between language and dialect for clarity. 

 

I haven't found the language too difficult and am able to keep up, which has been a surprise to me. The part that @Luxi references with the jokes went over my head but I just rolled on past it. Trying to keep this one light. 

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Publius
11 hours ago, 艾墨本 said:

I would have liked her to define the difference between language and dialect for clarity. 

A language is a dialect with an army and a navy. :D

The distinction is arbitrary and not entirely based on mutual intelligibility. (Donggan language spoken in Central Asia can be understood pretty well by a Mandarin speaker, but Chinese scholars wouldn't call it a dialect.)

It's a really old topic. Chinese scholars tend to use the term 方言 while linguists elsewhere tend to view them as different languages of the Chinese family. I sometimes use the term 'topolect' (proposed by Victor Mair to distinguish it from 'dialect'), sometime I just talk more vaguely about 'varieties'.

There's some linguistic considerations. One is how the speakers themselves call their language.

The earliest Old French text is the Oaths of Strasbourg. But it's only 'Old French' retrospectively. To the oath takers, or people living in the 9th-century France, they were speaking 'rustica romana lingua' or 'lingua romana', which was just another name for 'lingua latina'.

Another factor is there exists a common language, more prestigious, used in written communication, literature, school education, governmental functions.

If you listen carefully, the Guangzhou student didn't read the text verbatim: 是->係, 和->同, 的->嘅. I don't speak Hokkien but I'm pretty sure the Fujian student used different words too. It's like I read 123 as 'yi1 er4 san1' while you read it as 'one two three'. But it creates the illusion that we're using the same language called math.

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realmayo
3 hours ago, 艾墨本 said:

. I would have liked her to define the difference between language and dialect for clarity

 

But she wasn't talking about dialects, she was talking about 方言 s !:mrgreen::mrgreen:

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Luxi

Good points @Publius and @realmayo。 言 means language, of course!

 

I see now that 方言is a linguistic-socio-political Chinese concept. It wouldn't go down well in Europe to say that Norwegian and English are German 方言- and yet there are closer similarities between Norwegian and English than between Cantonese and 普通话。

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stapler
On 2017/3/25 at 11:03 AM, Publius said:

I didn't notice tonal differences. I think the teacher's point is about 尖团音, i.e. xia vs sia.

 

Oh okay. Well I don't understand everything clearly in these videos. I was under the impression that, for example, 形象 is not only pronounced incorrectly in terms of 韵母 and 声母, but also that 形象 has different tones (fourth tone on 形). I know the teacher points out that mistake, but I thought later on she implied that this isn't a tone mistake in 北京话,  just a tone difference between with 普通话.

 

7 hours ago, Luxi said:

there are closer similarities between Norwegian and English than between Cantonese and 普通话。

 

Really? Norwegian is entirely incomprehensible to me. But even as just a Mandarin beginner I can still make out bits of Cantonese. I feel like the Chinese languages are much more closely related than the German languages (or at least, English and the other German languages - might just be a product of English vocabulary being from other language families)

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somethingfunny
On 25/03/2017 at 11:12 AM, Luxi said:

The 太阳 , 出日 joke needed too much background knowledge, I had to ask for help. Turned out to be quite funny.

 

Perhaps you could share what you found out.  My understanding is that the woman was having a bit of a go at the man ("Do you wish to live to see the light of tomorrow!"), but in a jokey way.  But as they were using pagers, I assume thats what they were from the description as I remember doing this myself, the person doing the receiving and sending decided to change it to something a little more appropriate (and concise) for the written language and it ended up being romantic.  The only thing I'm not sure about is how much I should read into being invited to watch the sunrise...

 

I really wasn't sure about that love letter at the end of the second part with all the circles.  If anyone has any ideas perhaps they could share.  Otherwise, I might have to go through and listen to it a few times over.

 

Also for part two, here are a few of the internet slang phrases she mentioned (and what I understand their meaning to be):

 

恐龙 An unattractive female

打铁 To hit the rim when playing basketball

酱紫 这样子

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Luxi

You got the joke OK. I never had anything to do with pagers, someone had to explain to me how the thing worked. The joke was that the typist (‘传呼的小姐’) writing the message thought that the original 你明天想到看太阳吗 was too colloquial and changed it into 'posh' Chinese. Instead of getting the intended message ('stop pestering me if you want to see the light tomorrow'), the guy got an invitation to watch the sunrise. A rather romantic invitation even without reading too much into it.

 

The point of the love letter with the circles was just to show that language has to follow a standard to be understood. Someone helped me with the actual 'text', it's not too hard to get but a few of the words eluded me. Here it is:

我和你  伤别离  喜团聚
你心里有我  我心里有你
话在圈外  意在圈里
说不尽的相思 一路圈圈儿圈到底

How one can read all that in those circles is still a mystery to me!

 

I was not too good with the Internet expressions, got only 2-3. Do you think 打铁 could mean 'party'?

三Q is ‘thank you'

 

@stapler

21 hours ago, stapler said:

Norwegian is entirely incomprehensible to me. But even as just a Mandarin beginner I can still make out bits of Cantonese.

 

It's like the teacher says, familiarity plays a role in this...I can even understand some Welsh even without necessarily trying to :wink:

 

 


 

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somethingfunny

Just watched the third part.  I didn't really get the whole thing with the girl from Beijing and 形象 - did she just read it wrong, or do people in Beijing say that word differently?

 

I remember when I first learned Chinese, I learnt all the 声母 and all the 韵母 one by one, and had to repeat many, many examples of each over, and over again.  It was pretty boring, but I guess my pronunciation is not too bad for having done it. 

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Publius

I was puzzled by 打鐵 too. Seems a new one from Taiwanese where the pronunciation is similar to 'party'.

 

The girl from Beijing just read it wrong (現象). The teacher pointed out her pronunciation of 形象 is sian4(sic)siang4, and 延慶 yan2cing4, 構件 gou4zian4, 優秀 you1siu4, 行天下 sing2tian1sia4. 有點“咬舌尖”. Kind of like one does in Peking Opera. People from northern mountainous regions of Beijing do have that trait sometimes. (But she failed to point out the w->v phenomenon.)

 

And I think she is a poor joke teller. The 凍手/開腔 joke would be much funnier if delivered by another person.

 

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realmayo
25 minutes ago, Publius said:

she failed to point out the w->v phenomenon

 

Perhaps because it's not non-standard?

 

 

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Publius
6 minutes ago, realmayo said:

Perhaps because it's not non-standard?

It is non-standard. V is not a valid 聲母 of Modern Standard Mandarin/Putonghua/Guoyu (b p m f d t n l g k h j q x zh ch sh r z c s y w)

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Publius

There is also a grammar point which was incorporated into the national standard but to my best knowledge nobody outside Beijing use it.

I'm talking about the 'inclusive' first person plural pronoun 咱們. The difference between 咱們 and 我們 is: 咱們 is we including the listener, while 我們 does not necessarily include the listener. But to most Mandarin speakers they are just interchangeable, and it sometimes causes confusion if one of the parties in the dialogue is from Beijing. I had a Hubei classmate back in college telling me 咱們村怎麼怎麼樣. And more recently a friend from Sichuan told me 那時候咱們已經不怎麼說話了. Took me quite a while to realize she was talking about she and another person.

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realmayo

Okay maybe it's just my ears but I hear this 联播新闻 presenter's 未来 as close to a v, especially in comparison to the 为 that follows soon after:

 

weilai.mp3

 

 

 

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